Queen Mary Sailing Club TT : Winter Series
Saturday 18th February 2012

On Saturday February 18th the Sprint 15 fleet visited Queen Mary for the fourth event of their Winter Series.

With a weather forecast for the day of strong winds, this was always likely to be challenging test, and it certainly was. With winds of over 20 knots and gusting over 30 this threatened to be something more like from the series of ďTotal WipeoutĒ than a pure sailing event!
Never mind, once again over 20 Sprint 15 sailors turned up for the event ready to give it a go. But with launching proving very difficult in the extreme conditions, only 17 managed to get on the water, and not everyone made it to the start line without a swim. Quite an achievement in the daunting conditions.

For the event, race officers Charles and Jackie Wand-Tetley set the fleet a large square course on the western side of Queen Mary reservoir.

At the start of the first race, Grafhamís Mark Aldridge charged away from the line and immediately started to open up a big lead. Behind him, Rutlandís Steve Sawford and Howard Hawkes (Thorpe Bay) were in hot pursuit. Queen Mary sailor Gordon Goldstone was also there, but his racing came to an abrupt end on the 2nd lap when his rigging gave way.
Robert England was doing well in the tough conditions, but he was gradually overhauled by Liam Thom (Shanklin) and Paul Craft.
Further back, the Draycote pair of Jan Elfring and Peter Slater were battling with Queen Maryís Stewart Pegum and George Love (Carsington), who in turn were closely followed by Simon Hare and Darren Fichen.

At the finish line, Aldridge was well ahead of Sawford, Liam Thom made a great effort to take 3rd ahead of Howard Hawkes, Paul Craft was 5th and Robert England 6th.

With the wind gusts hammering across the water it was inevitable it would take a toll and there would be a number of capsizes and non-finishers. Derek James, Gary Burrows and Ian Hope all succumbed to the weather and didnít make it to the finish.

By the time of the 2nd race, the wind had ratcheted up yet another notch, and it was a slightly depleted number of starters who lined up to go.
At the start, it was again Mark Aldridge who was fastest off the line, with Steve Sawford and Howard Hawkes in hot pursuit. As the race progressed it was becoming a battle of who could handle the weather the best, even big Simon Hare was finding this a struggle.

This was a tough race in the toughest of conditions. Aldridge led every lap, with Sawford repeatedly tacking off to try a different route, but never really managing to close the gap.
Howard Hawkes again did very well and Robert England produced his best sailing of the day to this time get ahead of Paul Craft and Liam Thom.

At the gun, it was again Aldridge from Sawford, Howard Hawkes was 3rd ahead of Robert England, the consistent Paul Craft 5th and Jan Elfring with his best result in 6th.
Particular credit to Derek James, who didnít finish the 1st race, but stayed out for the 2nd race and managed to grab a 9th place in even worse conditions.

In the final analysis, Mark Aldridge with 2 two firsts in the most difficult conditions showed that heís the man to beat when the wind is really blowing.

The final event in this hotly contested Sprint 15 Winter Series wraps up at Grafham on March 25th. It promises to be quite competitive.

Full results from the club


Full Series Results available here

Una Fleet
CompetitorsEvent Placings
NameSailClubFormatHandicap PlaceFleet Place
Mark Aldridge19Grafham Water Sailing ClubUna Rig11
Steve Sawford1733Rutland Water Sailing ClubUna Rig22
Gary Burrows1871Thorpe Bay Yacht ClubUna Rig142
Howard Hawkes1643Snettisham Beach SCUna Rig33
Robert England1351RYAUna Rig44
Liam Thom554Shanklin Sailing ClubUna Rig55
Paul Craft1267Worthing Sailing ClubUna Rig66
Jan Elfring1913Draycote Water Sailing ClubUna Rig77
Stewart Pegum1918Oxford Sailing ClubUna Rig88
Peter Slater1627Draycote Water Sailing ClubUna Rig99
Simon Hare1970Oxford Sailing ClubUna Rig1010
George Love1825Carsington Sailing ClubUna Rig1111
Daren Fitchew1642Thorpe Bay Yacht ClubUna Rig1312
Ian Hope1939Draycote Water Sailing ClubUna Rig1413
Gordon Goldstone2004Queen Mary Sailing ClubUna Rig1413
Sport Fleet
CompetitorsEvent Placings
NameSailClubFormatHandicap PlaceFleet Place
Derek James1744Draycote Water Sailing ClubSport121